The human urge to collect things of the past that they considered valuable sometimes defies logic as there is a lot that comes on the market to buy every day. But the domineering sense of nostalgia creates an urge in people-of-means to spend largesse on items that they may not be able to use and simply store them for posterity.
The current year also recorded some outstanding auctions taking place around the world fetching phenomenal amounts for rare items. From the expected winners such as Napoleon’s hat and a racing driver’s 1957 BMW to the more obscure lots, including the most valuable painting of a Russian artist, the auctions succeeded in attracting attention of collectors.
Napoleon has not lost his reputation as the finest captain of his age and most of his military prowess was mirrored by his tattered grey coat and panoply of hats. He was known to have possessed 120 hats but his two-pointed “bicorne” hat said to have been found on the battlefield of Waterloo after his final military defeat in 1815 was placed in auction and fetched unexpected price $317,896. The high-sale amount created quite an excitement as it was expected that it could easily sell for $45,275.
One item of jewelry, “Pink Legacy” diamond brought
high monetary returns of $50 million
Emperor Napoleon was also fond of fine things of existence and his rise saw the revival of the artisans of luxury goods who lost their trade after the monarchy was abolished in France. Napoleon particularly adored “Marly Rouge” 256-piece dessert service that was mostly used to entice Empress Marie-Louise, his second wife with whom he loved to dine soon ballooning into an unrecognizable figure. He insisted to take this service with him to his first exile to Elba. This service fetched an amount of $1.8 million, a world record for 19th-century porcelain. The price was six-times more than the estimated value.
The tragic Marie Antoinette is well-renowned in history as the profligate Austrian princess to have become the last French empress before the monarchy was overthrown. Her pearl pendant was first of its kind from the unseen jewelry owned by Marie Antoinette along with the collection owned by her and was expected to sell well but it surprised the auctioneers in Geneva when it got $36 million.
One item of jewelry, “Pink Legacy” diamond brought high monetary returns of $50 million. The price obtained for the 18.96-carat Pink Legacy diamond is a record price per carat for a pink gem. This outstanding jewel was bought by New York jewelers Harry Winston.
The 1957 BMW 507 Roadster became the most valuable BMW ever sold when it went to auction for $4,830,958 at the Bonhams Festival of Speed sale. This vehicle is just one of 252 made and it was owned by John Surtees, the only man to ever win the world championship on both two and four wheels, who passed away in 2017 leaving his rich legacy to be picked up for a worthy price.
1961 Aston Martin Zagato fetched $12.8 million as this sleek car is known by its distinctive registration number ‘2EV’ and has broken the record for most valuable British car ever sold at European auction. The outstanding quality of the car is its one-ownership for 47 years. Zagato has a history of international competition racing.
Suprematist Composition has become something of a bestseller for Kazimir Malevich. The 1916 abstract painting has topped its own record as the Russian artist’s highest-selling work when it sold for $85.5 million in March. The price it fetched was an increase on the $60 million it raked in in 2008.
An astonishing auction pertained to the rare signed first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with the unusual ‘wand’ mistake on page 53, where ‘1 wand’ is listed twice in a list of Harry’s school supplies. The edition sold for a record-breaking $159,232 in New York breaking the previous record of $75,460 paid for a Harry Potter book.
Hoor Asrar Rauf has remained a swimming champion and is a budding entrepreneur